Oedipus Tragic Hero

Essay by Jaritza18College, UndergraduateB+, October 2014

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Jaritza Molina 9/17/2014

Prof. Dwamina English 205-004

Is King Oedipus a tragic hero?

The King Oedipus is the hero of 'Oedipus Rex', because he does great deeds and shows great power or strength. For example, he saves his people from an oppressive tax burden. He rules so well and wisely that Thebans respect him personally and professionally.

But Oedipus also is tragic, because he undergoes a miserable reversal of fortune. That reversal results from a fatally flawed character that's responsible for his own downfall, destruction, and death. His foremost character flaw is pride. He thinks that he can escape the horrendous fate that the gods have in store for him. But according to the culture and religious beliefs of the ancient Greeks, there's no hiding from god preordained lives, god managed fates, and god foredoomed deaths.

Oedipus' fate is particularly ironic for him. He prides himself on his role model family and professional life.

He sees himself as the dedicated head of his family, the royal household, and the entire city of Thebes. He ends up realizing that his royal powers and his personal happiness owe their existence to criminal means. He becomes a beloved king, because he unknowingly kills the previous king. In other words, he becomes a king by being a king killer or traitor. He becomes a beloved husband and father, because he unknowingly weds and beds his own mother. In other words, he becomes a spouse and parent by being a sex offender.

Oedipus beautifully fits Aristotle's definition of a tragic hero as a man in whom good and bad are mixed but in whom the good predominates and who, because of a tragic flaw, suffers a reversal of fortune. (The first part of this definition is usually paraphrased as "a basically noble man with a...